Learn how to repair scratches in a hardwood floor. Find out how to sand a scratched floor and refinish sections that are gashed, scratched or otherwise damaged.
LESLIE: Taking a call from Paul in Rhode Island, dealing with some scratchy floors. What happened?
PAUL: (beeping sound) I just had my floors refinished  about three months ago and ...
LESLIE: Wait, are you backing up right now? (Tom laughs)
PAUL: Actually I was. I was in a vehicle. I’m sorry.
TOM: That’s OK.
PAUL: And …
TOM: Pay attention to where you’re driving, please. (laughing)
PAUL: I am. I’m pulled over now.
LESLIE: OK, [two and 10] (ph).
TOM: Go ahead.
PAUL: I got surface scratches on my hardwood floor . It’s not gouged into the floor but it’s scratched, I’d say, below the first or second layer of polyurethane …
PAUL: … and I was just wondering how can I get that out to a nice, even finish again.
TOM: So you’ve recently had it finished so you don’t want to refinish it?
PAUL: Yeah, I don’t want to go through the whole process having (inaudible) done and refinished. Is there a way just to like spot coat it maybe or something like that?
TOM: Well, yes. I mean certainly you could abrade that area. You could sand that area with some very fine like 220-grit sandpaper and then recoat just that one area. But I’ll give you another way. If you’re kind of like this across the entire floor there is an alternative to sanding it down to raw wood and that is to rent a floor buffer with a sanding screen. And what that basically looks like, it sort of looks like a window screen and it’s mounted on the bottom of a floor buffer and it’s your standard, you know, 12 or 18-inch diameter – I forget what it is – to go on the bottom of that buffer. And you can go through the entire floor with that and it basically just smoothes out those scratches off the surface and then you mop on another coat of polyurethane and you’re back to a totally new finished floor without having to use the big, heavy sanders that grind it down to the raw wood.
PAUL: Oh, OK. That sounds like a good idea.
TOM: So there’s two ways to do it. You could do it in just the one area like that or you can floor buff it with a sanding screen and do the whole floor . I’ve done both. I mean I had an area in my living room where one of the chairs was rubbing in and actually had cut through the finish and I just patched that one area by itself. And you know, when I first got done you could see that it was shinier than the rest but give it a couple of weeks and it kind of blends in.
LESLIE: It’ll all even out.
TOM: And then in other cases I’ve actually used the floor buffer and done the entire floor then mopped on a new coat of urethane. When you put the urethane on though, make sure you use oil-based urethane. Do not use water-based polyurethane on the floor. It’s just not tough enough.
TOM: Alright, Paul?
PAUL: Thank you very much for your help. I appreciate it.
TOM: Well, you’re welcome, Paul, and I tell you what. For calling in tonight, because you’re dealing with home improvement questions, we’re going to give you one of the Money Pit American Homeowners Association  memberships. How’s that sound?
PAUL: Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate that.
TOM: You’re welcome. It’s worth 120 bucks and gives you access to home improvement contractors  and discounts on all sorts of services for the home.
Paul, what we’re going to need you to do is call 866-Real-Home. That’s the membership number.
TOM: Give them your name and they will hook you up and for any of the other folks that are listening, if you’d like to try this out for 30 days for free and get a Zircon laser level just for doing that, you can call 866-Real-Home and they’ll hook you up as well.
Paul, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
PAUL: Thank you.